Viernes, 22 Febrero, 2019

Highlights of Friday's National Hockey League games

Alex Ovechkin leaves game after getting rocked by a hit from the Leafs Nazem Kadri Alex Ovechkin leaves game after getting rocked by a hit from the Leafs Nazem Kadri
Montrelle Montesinos | 03 May, 2017, 18:44

Washington responded the right way in a 2-1 overtime win over the Maple Leafs on Friday night.

We all know how that turned out.

The Toronto Maple Leafs need a victory here if they're going to force a game seven on Tuesday.

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs - There was no shortage of fanfare surrounding Matthews from the day he went number one overall.

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russian Federation, is helped off the ice by a trainer and Nicklas Backstrom (19), of Sweden, after he was injured during the first period of Game 5 in an NHL Stanley Cup hockey first-round.

Again though, the Leafs could not score with the advantage and finished the night 0 for 4 on the power play.

Marcus Johansson scored his second goal of the game, 6 minutes, 31 seconds into overtime, and the top-seeded Caps edged the No. 8-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 Sunday night, putting an end to a first-round series that was way, way closer than anyone could have ever predicted. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said the closeness of the series is a credit to the parity in the National Hockey League and Toronto's young stars like Auston Matthews and William Nylander. "They were invested. They're winning puck battles, their breakouts were clean, their entries into the zone were well executed".

"That's hardened us too".

Lou Lamoriello described the Maple Leafs' season as a "step" and nothing more. Trotz said that can't happen, benching him but vowing to get Wilson's head straight moving forward.

Ovechkin said he was "all good" and wasn't anxious, and the roar of the sellout crowd when he stepped back onto the ice was the sweetest sound for the Capitals until the goal horn that followed Justin Williams' overtime victor. Then, another weird bounce gave the Leafs a lead. The bad old days of Salutegate were long forgotten. "That's something, mentally, you have to go through a little bit because every team is going, "We've got nothing to lose" and we're on the other side going, 'We've got everything to lose'". "They know how far we've come and the effort we put into this". The team didn't really a choice given the way Matthews and company were flying around the ice.

The 19-year-old draft led all rookies with 40 goals and 69 points - both Leafs franchise rookie records.

"The more important the game, the bigger Justin plays", said T.J. Oshie, who scored a power-play goal in the first period for the Capitals.

"They're the Presidents' Trophy winners and it was one-goal games", said rookie Zach Hyman. "But when we got in here and looked at one another (after the game), there's a lot of pride that can be taken". We have unbelievable support from the city of Toronto and Leafs Nation. "I thought it was okay".

But also encouraging. If you're the Leafs, you should like your chances knowing that your best player is dominating and not scoring - because it's like a valve that's getting read to blow. "Every shift, every game (I'm feeling) better". It could've been a defining moment for the Capitals this post-season.

"(They) are making significant progress", Sullivan said. They have a very good future. Would he be the team's best player?

Someone else Ovechkin spoke to was Leafs centre Nazem Kadri.

Babcock says he is extremely proud of his team's incredible run in the season and values the experience that they were able to gain from the six postseason games.

Fans who howled furiously when Ovechkin left the ice in the first cheered in delight when he returned to start the second frame. But the Capitals felt Kadri should have been drawn and quartered rather than be issued a minor penalty for the hit and spent a lot of time seeking revenge.